Tips for Solo Female Travel in Jordan

When I announced that I was planning to solo travel to Jordan, many people in my life were immediately concerned. I got many “are you crazy?” looks and “are you sure about this?” comments. Why were people acting like this? I had been to at least 40 other countries solo. It’s not like this was my first rodeo. After doing research into tours and private drivers, I made the decision to self-drive in Jordan which also caused undue concern among my friends and family. Since apparently, this is a “wild and crazy” thing to do, I figured I’d post some tips for solo female travel in Jordan. Spoiler alert, I had no problems whatsoever. I had an absolutely lovely time and can’t wait to go back.

Girl with red hair and jean jacket sits in huge ancient ampitheater in Amman Jordan
The Roman Theater in Amman

Is Jordan Dangerous?

I admit that even I, Miss “Independent-Solo-Traveler-Posterchild”, didn’t make the decision to solo drive around Jordan lightly, but not for the reasons other people were concerned. The average American hears “Middle East” and is immediately thinking of wars or terrorist attacks or God-knows-what depending on what news station they watch. Therefore the mere idea of going to the Middle East, to many people, is simply not happening. The idea of a solo female traveler in the middle east sends waves of panic down many people’s spines. I had to do some explaining about how each country in the Middle East is unique and different, and there are not terrorists running around rampant in every country. In fact, I have rarely encountered more hospitable people than in the Middle East.

I love the Middle East and love traveling to the Middle East. It’s a very misunderstood and mischaracterized region. My family is from Syria so I grew up visiting family there. Arab and Muslim people don’t inherently frighten me. That wasn’t the issue that gave me any pause regarding Jordan. Jordan is a secure country with secure borders and has no problems with war or terrorism. However, other female travelers have reported a significant degree of harassment towards foreign females and this was my greatest concern. I researched the heck out of this, searching social media trying to find every single woman who had ever been to Jordan and get their perspective. I managed to find one or two who also self-drove and their posts were immensely helpful AND made me more confident about my entire endeavor.

When I say that I didn’t have problems, I don’t mean to discount the many women who did have issues. I believe their experiences because many solo females have been harrassed and many even touched or grabbed in various countries. I took what I learned from other women and tried to adjust my strategy to mitigate those potential aggravations. My extra caution served me well and I thank these other traveling ladies for being brave enough to share their stories. Because of those stories, I was able to plan better.

Woman in bathing suit floating on her back in the Dead Sea, Jordan
Floating in the Dead Sea

Tips for Female Solo Travel to Jordan

How to Dress in Jordan

Women can argue about this all day, saying it doesn’t matter, but I believe it does. When you are in a conservative country, where women are mostly covered up, tone it down a bit Jezebel. Just kidding! I am not a victim shamer but cover your shoulders, cleavage, and knees and you will likely attract less attention. This to me is the key when I travel…not attracting attention. There is nothing gained from standing out as a tourist, especially in conservative cultures. I covered my red hair with a hat or had it in a bun to try to not be such an obvious outsider when walking the streets in Amman. I also sort of dressed like a schoolmarm (what does that even mean? Is that offensive?). Long skirts, jean jacket, scarf. It was actually cool when I went in early December, so I wanted to cover up.

Dressing conservatively shows that you have some respect for their cultural norms. You are after all a guest in their country. This is not the time to prance around yelling about how women should do whatever they want. Jordanian women need to have that movement for themselves. Can you still be harassed while dressing conservatively? Absolutely. It is hardly a foolproof plan but it’s a mitigation strategy.

Woman with jean jacket and hate standing in front of ancient columns in Jerash, Jordan
Jerash, Jordan

Take Basic Precautions

When I say basic precautions, I mean the same things a solo female should be doing everywhere.

Don’t Walk Alone At Night

Don’t walk alone at night in desolate or unfamiliar areas. I wanted to see the city at night so I joined a walking tour led by a lovely young woman with whom I randomly connected on Instagram. It was a blast! I highly recommend doing all of her tours. Her IG handle is @DianaSarlan88.

Ubers and Taxis

Use Uber or Careem (a local ride share service) whenever possible vs jumping into a random taxi. This way your ride can be tracked. Local Jordanian women have reported feeling safer doing this. If you do take a taxi, make sure you negotiate the fare upfront or ask them to use a meter. Many taxi and Uber drivers are also tour guides and will try to talk you into seeing Petra or Wadi Rum with them. I don’t advise this, even if they are very nice. This is how other females I know have had trouble because these are not official guides. If you are going to book tours, better to do it with more official agents and those with a company with an online presence. With that said, one taxi driver I encountered very proudly showed me a page in Lonely Planet where he has been mentioned so he is probably an OK choice. Message me for his info.

Stay Connected

If you don’t have cell phone service that works in other countries, get a SIM card upon arrival for your phone. Staying connected and having internet access is a major safety strategy, in my opinion. I know people like to “be off the grid” when traveling but we females don’t always have that happy-go-lucky luxury. Safety first. I recommend T Mobile or Google Fi service for frequent travelers. Message me for a Google Fi code to save money if you decide to switch! Most countries in the world are included in your regular data plan and calls and texts to the United States are free with Google Fi. I have had both and Google Fi in my opinion is slightly better with more reliable and faster speeds. Plus you typically get a huge discount on a new phone. I’m not sponsored but like to share info that is helpful!

Make Sure Someone Knows Your Itinerary

This may seem obvious but it isn’t always. Send an email to your mom, your sister, or your best friend with your itinerary including dates, flight info, and hotels. If you don’t have definitive plans do the best you can to update somebody along the way. For this particular trip, I was cajoled into checking in with one of my male friends AND my mother at least once a day, typically via WhatsApp. I simply let them know I was about to drive to “wherever” and how long it should take. If they didn’t hear from me after that time period, they were supposed to call hotels and see if I checked in. That was the arrangement. It may seem excessive, but don’t you want someone to notice if you simply disappear?

Yellow Flowers on a shrub with a small bird in front of the Dead Sea, Jordan
The Dead Sea

Be Careful Who You Choose as a Tour Guide

Do your research and don’t just let a random person talk you into a discounted tour. Think about these things ahead of time.

Book Tours Through Your Hotel or Hostel

This is a good option when you haven’t found any good tours or tour guides. The hotels typically have somebody they have worked with in the past and you would hope if they were inappropriate, it would have been reported.

Make Connections Ahead of Time with Local Women

I made it known on Instagram and Facebook that I was looking for a trustworthy guide. There are tons of female travel groups on Facebook for all regions of the world and these groups can be a great resource. I searched hard for a female tour guide or driver but couldn’t find a driver. I was connected via Instagram with a young woman living in Amman. She and I messaged and decided to meet for coffee, which was lovely. She had previously connected me with her cousin who does tours on the side (he’s an engineer). She said I could count on him to behave and she was well aware of some of the issues other female travelers have had in Jordan. His name was Feras and he was a doll. He took me for a day tour to Jerash from Amman and then treated me to dinner and wanted to send me home with cookies for my father. I feel like I have a new friend from this experience (message me for his info).

Airbnb Experiences

I also recommend looking at Airbnb experiences. I found a cooking class run by a Syrian woman in her apartment. Her name happened to be Shireen (mine with a different spelling). What a fun night that was! I left her house with gifts and she and her cousin face-timed with my Dad because apparently, they are all from the same area in Damascus. They made me feel like family. If you have any middle-eastern friends, you know how it is.

Three women having dinner
Cooking Class in Amman

That was all just in Amman! I can’t wait to go back, see more and visit all these wonderful people I met. Amman is a cool city and I would recommend spending at least 3 days there.

Safety in Petra and Wadi Rum

Petra is a world-famous archaeological site that is utterly amazing but many women have reported issues there with the local bedouin men. It’s hard to describe the scene there. The bedouins have a rich cultural history and it is definitely worthwhile to sit, drink tea and converse with them. However, many of them have adopted a sort of costume to impress tourists. They remind me of Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. I don’t know why or how this “look” came about, but many of them are very handsome and flirtatious with female tourists. There are stories of single women being romanced by them, then harassed for money. Sometimes worse.

Don’t go off the main tourist path or to any private caves with a local man

When I was reading up on female safety issues, I found that many women had been invited to go on “private” hiking tours or to have tea in a cave somewhere outside the main tourist areas. Some of these women were sexually harassed and even raped. For these reasons, I will recommend that you stay on well-touristed paths when hiking in Petra, and please, for God’s sake, turn down private cave invites!

Woman with yellow scarf on head sits on rocks in the desert at sunset
Sunset in Petra

Please do not let what I’m saying cause you to put your guard up so strongly that you don’t interact with anyone. The vast majority of the bedouins are hospitable and kind. I truly enjoyed meeting them and hearing about their lives. I spent hours at sunset having tea, listening to music with two Bedouin men at sunset along with the few other tourists who had wandered up to the high point above the Monastery. One of them kindly tied my scarf on my head in the local style (photo above). It was a really fun evening.

Sadly there are a few bad apples are out there but that doesn’t mean one should generalize that all of the local men are scary. There are many tents scattered about in Petra where you can sit and have tea and snacks with local bedouins. They rely on this income and it is a great experience. I encourage you to do this, but in the main areas of course.

When in the vast expanse of the Wadi Rum desert, you do not want to find yourself alone with a sketchy man. A good friend of mine had some trouble here with an “official” wadi rum tourist guide and that prompted me to take extra care when booking accommodation and a tour. I hate to sound elitist but when you are on a budget, sometimes safety is harder to guarantee. I have never heard of a luxury traveler having an issue. This isn’t fair, but it’s the honest truth. With that said, I chose one of the nicer desert camps and booked my desert tour through them. I figured the hotel would have to be accountable for whatever driver took me out into the desert and somebody would know where I was. I even got my headscarf tied for me…again.

Woman with Red and White scarf tied on head playing with sand in the desert in Jordan

Safety While Self Driving in Jordan

These tips are really not just for females but any foreigners who decide to self-drive in Jordan. Overall I highly recommend it. Jordan is not a huge country, the roads are well maintained, well signed (in English and Arabic), and you have more freedom of movement with your own car. Renting a car for me was a huge cost savings over a private driver and I actually felt safer not being trapped in a car for days with a random man.

Check out my 10 Day Self Driving Jordan Trip to see all the wonderful things you can see in Jordan!

Which Car Company To Use?

All the major car companies are here plus smaller budget brands. This is up to personal choice and experience but I tend to use the same ones everywhere, either Sixt, Hertz or Europcar because they have a good reputation and I have personally had more good experiences than bad. I have another post about driving in other countries with more information. No company is perfect. I always advise talking to friends or acquaintances and seeing which company they have had good or bad experiences within various countries. Generally automatic is considerably more expensive than manual.

I rented with Sixt and other than the unnecessarily long time it took to get the car (impatient American person here), it was a good experience. You can always look on Expedia or one of the big travel sites to compare prices between various companies to get an idea of what the price range is.

Make sure you have your insurance situation figured out because car companies love to upsell on this and it is pricey. Many credit cards have collision damage coverage so you can feel confident signing the CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) that the car rental company will make you sign. Sometimes your own auto policy at home has coverage for rental cars. Always research this. Some car companies may put a hold on your credit card anywhere from $500-$2000 but this is released when you return the car.

Have Your Navigation Plan Ready

We already discussed cell phone connectivity. I find this to be important for safety in any country. This will be important while driving, especially for your navigation. I recommend downloading google maps offline prior to your trip. This way when you don’t have service, you still have a map. If you can get an “old-fashioned” paper map (and you know how to read one), get it! Unfortunately, few rental companies give these out in our modern times. I tend to request a GPS device for the rental car. This time they didn’t have it available and instead gave me a car with wifi. I luckily never really got lost and didn’t need it. I found Jordan relatively easy to navigate and the roads are good. There are only 3 main highways through the country that run north and south, all essentially parallel to each other: The Kings Highway, The Desert Highway, and the Jordan Valley Highway which runs along the Dead Sea.

I recommend having a portable cell phone charger. Using maps constantly drains the battery frighteningly fast. You want a battery functioning at all times!

Bedouin Cave in Petra Jordan with colorful rug on ground looking out onto desert
Bedouin Tent in Petra

Beware of Speed Bumps

Be ready for all the speed bumps. They are everywhere in Jordan and aren’t always well marked. There are also plenty of speed traps. For these two reasons I drove relatively slowly and allowed myself plenty of time to get everywhere. Jordanians tend to drive fast and not pay much attention to the painted lane dividers so it’s recommended for tourists to stay in the right lane. I also did NOT drive in Amman (it looked terrifying). I took an Uber from the airport to Amman and then back to the airport to rent a car for the rest of my trip.

Frequent Police Stops

Police stops are common on Jordanian highways, especially on the Dead Sea Highway. Keep in mind where Jordan is located…lots of “drama” in the region. These are usually no big deal, just a very friendly police officer asking how you’re doing and saying “Welcome to Jordan”. Sometimes when they see a woman they just wave you past the checkpoint. The rental car’s plates all have the same number on them that can immediately identify you as tourist. As long as you weren’t speeding, they won’t bother you.

Keep Your Fuel Tank Full

Make sure you always keep your tank full because the further into the desert you go, the less frequent are the gas stations. I never let mine fall below half a tank. I had a scare once where google maps wasn’t showing me a gas station nearby, but luckily I found one. Technology can fail you, my friends!

There Will Be Staring

Get used to people staring. They mean no harm. They just don’t often see foreign women driving alone. I found the average person to be really helpful when asked. When I stopped for gas or to use a restroom, again, there was staring. Just ignore. You may get a catcall or two. Don’t even acknowledge that you heard it and carry on with your business. Chances are nobody will speak to you or approach you.

Don’t Drive at Night or In the Desert

Driving at night is not recommended for several reasons but most of all, the roads aren’t well lit. Driving in the desert has to be done with a 4 wheel drive off-road read vehicle. It is very dangerous for people not familiar with these conditions. Especially alone! You can easily hire a guide for a desert tour.

Final Thoughts and Advice for Solo Female Travelers

You can see there are many pitfalls for female travelers to consider. My friends who traveled as couples did not have any of these issues. The minute a man is around, the way women are treated can be vastly different with much less “flirtation”. That is why a solo female needs to think of every taxi driver, tour guide, etc as a potential source of harassment. There are many group tours you can join that are designed for solo travelers. G Adventures and Intrepid Travel both have good ones. If you really want to go solo I would recommend self-driving as I did. I believe this is safer than putting your fate in the hands of a random taxi driver. Or, if self-driving isn’t your thing, hire an official guide/driver but only one that comes with recommendations from trusted sources. You want this person to be experienced and accountable to someone, such as a reputable company with an online presence. Unfortunately, I do not have a recommendation for such a person since I did not go this route.

Woman in yellow skirt standing in the desert in Jordan at Sunset
Sunset in Wadi Rum

I liked being able to drive myself around and stop here and there for photos whenever the urge struck. Having a private driver is really expensive and then I would sort of be stuck with this person the entire time which could be awkward. The cost would have been over $900 for 8 days vs under $600 for the car. The only time I didn’t like driving was in the village of Petra. I had some harrowing moments but the locals were kind. I had an experience once where I was being slow and confused and an angry man behind me honked and yelled, but when he finally pulled up next to me and looked, he softened immediately and said he was sorry and then let me go in front of him. Awwww.

Other than stares and the random teenager catcalling, I didn’t experience any aggression or harassment. I didn’t experience anything that legitimately scared me. I would encourage experienced solo travelers not to hesitate to visit Jordan. I don’t think it’s ideal for a novice solo traveler because some things aren’t so straightforward. However, when the time is right for you, and with proper planning and precautions, it will be an amazing trip of a lifetime.

Have you been to Jordan and what was your experience? What safety tips would you add?

About The Author

Cherene Saradar

Cherene is a travel expert with 30 years of experience in over 100 countries and 7 continents. She has traveled solo to over 50 countries. She is also a nurse anesthesiologist with over 20 years of healthcare experience. Her passions include wildlife travel and visiting wine regions of the world.


  1. 10 Day Self Driving Jordan Trip - Wandering Redhead | 30th Sep 23

    […] Read More: Safety Tips for Solo Female Travel in Jordan and Driving Safety Tips […]

  2. Evaline | 25th Oct 22

    Hi, Thank you for your post. I am going to Jordan as a solo traveler next week. I wonder if you could send the contact of the driver, Ferash, you had to Jerash?
    thanks much

    • csaradar | 3rd Nov 22

      so sorry for the late reply. I am checking to see if he is still in Amman But if not I recommend to check the Getyourguide website

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